1 way too early thought about every SEC team's Week 2 opponent
I realize the season hasn’t started. But I addressed Week 1 on Wednesday. Borrowing words from the great philosopher Bill Belichick, I’m on to Week 2.
Here’s 1 way too early thought I have about Trevor Lawrence and everybody else the SEC will face in Week 2.
Alabama vs. New Mexico State: “Why are the students leaving early?”
It’s 42-3 at the half, 108 in the shade and Tua spent the past 2 possessions wearing a towel around his neck. I think we’re done here.
Auburn vs. Tulane: Good news, bad news for Justin McMillan
First the good: McMillan, an LSU transfer, went 5-1 as a starter last season for the Green Wave.
The bad? Tulane is rebuilding up front, which is cruel timing for McMillan, who will try to find a way to stay upright against arguably the SEC’s best defensive line.
Arkansas at Ole Miss: “Look who’s on top of the SEC West now, baby!”
(If I had to guess, I’d say it will be the Rebels. For a week, anyway.)
Florida vs. UT Martin: A day made for Kadarius Toney
The outcome is a forgone conclusion. Only the “how” and “who” matter. Dan Mullen’s goal has been to get Kadarius Toney 10 touches a game. If he reaches that, Toney might score on half of them.
Georgia vs. Murray State: Does Ja Morant have a brother?
Georgia by 50.
Kentucky vs. Eastern Michigan: They beat Purdue last year?
Indeed. It wasn’t a fluke, either. The Eagles methodically drove 72 yards on their final possession to set up a walk-off field goal as time expired at Ross-Ade.
QB Mike Glass is a legitimate dual-threat, too, and perhaps a better passer than Terry Wilson. It’s an easy game for the Wildcats to overlook, but they shouldn’t.
LSU at Texas: OK, cool, give me all the hype
While some continue to foolishly campaign for 9 or even 10-game conference schedules, I continue to correctly insist that these regional superpower collisions are much, much better for the sport.
Every extra conference game you add, you obviously decrease the likelihood of a dream matchup like this.
It doesn’t matter who wins. We win. Imagine a world in which (nearly) every SEC team played 1 game against the surging, explosive Big 12.
Mississippi State vs. Southern Miss: Is Brett Favre’s son the QB?
Bulldogs by 21.
Missouri vs. West Virginia: Great matchup … a year too late
Drew Lock vs. Will Grier? Sign me up.
Instead we’ll get Kelly Bryant vs. (likely) Jack Allison. It’s a battle of transfer QBs (hardly a distinction). Bryant, you know about. Allison signed with Mark Richt and Miami, didn’t play and transferred to West Virginia, where he backed up Grier, the Florida transfer. (Ain’t this fun?)
So both offenses are starting over in 2019 and Week 2 will be too early to establish a reliable scouting report on either. Still, it’s another SEC vs. Big 12 matchup, and that’s far more intriguing than most alternatives.
South Carolina vs. Charleston Southern: Unleash Ryan Hilinski
If South Carolina loses the opener against North Carolina, Jake Bentley’s leash will be shorter than ever, if not already ripped beyond repair.
Regardless, everybody expects Ryan Hilinski to get plenty of snaps in Week 2 against what should be an overmatched FCS opponent coming off a 5-6 season in the Big South.
Tennessee vs. BYU: Be careful, Vols
BYU went 2-3 against Power 5 programs last season, the high point being a 24-21 victory at then-No. 6 Wisconsin.
So the Cougars are no stranger to competition and are capable of delivering a surprise on the road.
Zach Wilson didn’t play at Wisconsin, but he replaced starter Tanner Mangum halfway through and performed admirably. BYU’s passing game certainly took off under Wilson, who finished with nearly 400 more yards and 5 more TDs than Mangum in almost the exact same number of throws.
Texas A&M at Clemson: Trevor Lawrence is still a problem
After Lawrence’s Week 1 debut last year, I wrote that he was going to be a problem for SEC teams for the next 3 years. It took others a little bit longer to fully climb on board. Heck, Dabo Swinney didn’t even start Lawrence until Game 4. Silly, Dabo.
But it was obvious Lawrence was a generational star in the making.
Aggies fans will cling to the fact that they very nearly tamed the Tigers last year. Here’s the rub: Lawrence barely played. He attempted just 9 passes, still stuck behind Kelly Bryant.
As Alabama discovered, Trevor Lawrence is, well, (be nice …) just a tad bit more dangerous in the pocket than Kelly Bryant. Nice enough?
A&M has zero chance to slow down what should be the most prolific offense in the country. Can the Aggies score enough against a retooled Tigers defense to keep it interesting? I can’t wait to find out.
Death Valley is one of college football’s great venues, and it’s going to be rocking.
Vanderbilt at Purdue: An under-the-radar game worth watching
The initial reaction is to yawn. Don’t be fooled. Two of the nation’s most explosive playmakers, Vandy’s Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Purdue’s Rondale Moore, could spend the early afternoon trading SportsCenter Top 10 highlights.
Moore single-handedly ended Ohio State’s Playoff hopes last year, knifing through its defense for 12 catches for 170 yards and 2 scores. It was a career day, sure, but it wasn’t a fluke. Moore had 7 100-yard receiving days last year, and he was the only Boilermaker who made a dent in the blowout bowl loss to Auburn, finishing with 94 receiving yards and a rushing TD.